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MASSIVE CHALICE Legacy System from the Teamstream!

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Hey guys! Here's the chart that we were going over in the Teamstream! Let me know if you'd like a higher res version... hopefully this is ok. :D!

The cached stream will be here with our (lengthy) description of it!

http://www.twitch.tv/doublefine/b/432960862

Discussion of this chart takes place at about 21:00 if you want to skip the vacation talk!

Please keep in mind that all of this is still really early subject to change. We just thought it would be rad to get it out there and get some discussion going on it! :D!

Brad!

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*TABLEFLIP* I was refreshing the team updates forum area so I could actually experience the 'live' part of the 'livestream'! Foiled once again! What am I doing wrong? where am I supposed to go to stay up to date with this? I should actually start using my twitter, shouldn't I? Welp, I'm off to watch it, then.

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@nazareadain, do you get the Kickstarter updates? There was one that went out yesterday giving the time for today's stream: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/doublefine/double-fines-massive-chalice/posts/542958

Alas, my kickstarter account is linked to an old email I don't really use anymore, and I don't peruse the kickstarter site that often. However, if that's the place that's the most up to date, I'll simply bookmark and thank you. Bookmarked. Thank you.

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Alas, my kickstarter account is linked to an old email I don't really use anymore

You can change your Kickstarter email: https://www.kickstarter.com/settings/account

I've considered it, but I'm not sure as to what will happen to my doublefine account as that had to be linked to the same account as the kickstarter email to get access to the backer forums... just a bit of fear of the unkown.

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Alas, my kickstarter account is linked to an old email I don't really use anymore

You can change your Kickstarter email: https://www.kickstarter.com/settings/account

I've considered it, but I'm not sure as to what will happen to my doublefine account as that had to be linked to the same account as the kickstarter email to get access to the backer forums... just a bit of fear of the unkown.

just change your email on the forum to whatever you change your kickstarter email to and it will sync up in a day. i did it myself.

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One thing that wasn't clear to me was how all the baby making happens in the game. Does it only happen when you plug your heroes into a keep? Now make babies! ...or will the leftover "un-housed" heroes still get it on too? Hmm... and how does that work? O_o

And... Where do all the other heroes live while your sets of Hero A + Hero B live it up all cushy in their pimpin' new keeps?

I'm assuming that once you start losing land, you'll also lose keeps so that would restrict the number of bloodlines too, amiright?

Just stuff I thought of while I watched the stream...

I like the concept so far. Very appealing and unassuming. Cool stuff!

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I was really happy to hear that there will be some mimicking of actual genes for the traits (as someone who has argued for a completely trait-based system). that will be the interesting part of pairing up heroes...

I also like how the stuff about secondary classes and how you get some of the predefined class skills from that is turning out. that sounds pretty cool...even with some things I still dont get - probably from lack of imagination. (like, how would an archer with some warrior skills actually perform those with a bow equipped and not a broadsword/axe...? and vice versa. or is it going to be so cleverly designed that the secondary skills are specific to that class but dont necessarily involve the main weapon but can be all around useful...? like farsight from an archer or tackle from a warrior?)

still unsure about how the keep establishment will work with hard classes. I mean, arent you pretty much guaranteed to have a keep per class and never change that? and with that you can make any combination youd want for a given generation. or do you need two warrior keeps to make new pure warriors? (if you cant marry in-house) and if that would be the case, would the number of available keeps dictate how many of the classes you have two of and that would a strategical choice?

or is the balance supposed to be that you keep losing keeps to the enemy and have to re-establish the families so you dont lose access to an entire class?

if its always the optimal way to play the game to have one keep of each, for every player and playthrough, that kind of destroys the mechanic of manually establishing keeps at all?

another thing that I dont understand is that everyone is so worried about readability of the classes. now we have colors for each class as well. I dont mean to have a dig at these ideas or anyone but why is this such a problem? is it hard to tell that your guy with an axe isnt an archer? in xcom everyone looked pretty much the same and it was never a problem.

it just seems like such a massive budget commitment to make all these different classes with age and regular variation for that one reason.

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I'm not too keen on the idea of characters classes being a part of the heritable traits.

I'd prefer seeing new heirs with certain talents and flaws and then having the player choice where these kids will learn their profession (or a set of skills really).

At the very least a pick between the two parents or both, but maybe also have the option of not tying down the parent heros with their kids and sent those heros back to the frontline where you need them most and leave the schooling to a guild or something.

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I'm not too keen on the idea of characters classes being a part of the heritable traits.

I'd prefer seeing new heirs with certain talents and flaws and then having the player choice where these kids will learn their profession (or a set of skills really).

Yeah I kind of agree with your point there. A class is a profession and it is something that should be chosen to some degree. Though the idea of a house having all the same primary class does make a lot of sense if you take culture into account.

Perhaps keep the primary class as the house class, but allow the players to pick (or not pick as a choice) which secondary class they will be raised to learn from among the available primary and secondary classes of the Lord(s) and/or Lady(s) of that house.

So if Hero A is a Warrior Warrior and Hero B is a Mage Rouge then when Child X is born you can pick it's secondary class from Warrior, Mage or Rouge OR have the option of letting it be random. But the idea being that a class is something that is chosen and not always forced into a random variable.

That way to still have the house generating Warriors, but there is some more customization and choices for the player to lean one way or the other. More choice for the player to sculpt his kingdom and reach those other class abilities he needs will smoothen out the need for directly hiring up from guilds too.

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yeah, in regards to intuitivity, having classes be hereditary isn't something that - well, is intuitive.

I think that the offspring should have "capacaties" based on their parents. based on who the parents were, their offspring are more likely to excell in that direction. Or statistics, that despite the parents having gained through training, are imparted onto their offspring.

What I imagine is that a son of a level 9 warrior and level 8 mage, would get an experience boost in those two class cases. In this circumstance they shouldn't gain stats based on class levels, since it's disruptive for balance, however, since the point is that the bloodlines are supposed to be strong, perhaps it's not that bad so long as there are diminishing returns.

I remember someone mentioning keeps having stats, which I didn't like at the time, but allowing the keeps to level up in terms of scholaship and training, is yet another way to mitigate the loss of a great hero, since the training becomes better. Technically "new" Xcom did this in regards to squad upgrades dependant who the highest level soldier you had were.

Ok, a suggestion:

Keeps become better overtime, at a rate dependent on who the current mentor is

Depending on mentorship traits, and level of the mentor, the "Child raising" level of the keep goes up. This means whoever is trained at the keep starts with experience appropriate to the keep training programme and mentor.

Mentor is level 9 warriors

Keep has a level 4 training programme.

Take the average, and the most likely case is a level 6 warrior as an offspring. If the child had a capacity for being a warrior, he might be level 9. They can't go past the mentor's level.

The keep might also have "stored abilities" or "legacy skills" which are simply slots which you can fill with abilities you want the offspring to be taught. Could be upgradable with research...

Pardon the ramble.

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well thats what the matching and raising mechanic is all about isnt it? planning what class etc the child would be.

but perhaps theres something to be said, at least fictionally, about the actual environment where the child grows up (who raises it) defining the primary class instead of the secondary. and since that is an active choice after the child is born (and you can get some hints of stats and traits) maybe that would feel more hands-on.

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I'm not too keen on the idea of characters classes being a part of the heritable traits.

I'd prefer seeing new heirs with certain talents and flaws and then having the player choice where these kids will learn their profession (or a set of skills really).

Me too. I'd do this:

* Stats/traits/learning potential -> from parents.

* Skills/abilities/professions-> from training/environment/combat

I'd scrap classes, and go with a simpler skill system, with experience going toward individual skills.

Heroes could gain exp in a skill by:

* staying in a keep with other heroes who have that skill

* explicit training in a skill at a keep

* using skills in combat

* seeing skills used in combat

* staying in particular places

* using items/equipment

* by just being exceedingly talented in something

* etc.

Every hero will have a learning potential based on their "genes", which could be a simple list of max level/learning rate for every skill in the game. This list should be hidden from the player, but could be partially revealed as the game progresses in some way.

This will make so that if the heroes family is a warrior's family, he'll (probably) have a bigger potential of learning warriors skills, and if he stays at the family's keep he'll learn this skills faster than mages or archers skills.

But a hero from a warriors family could also sometimes happen to have a higher potential in magic skills and higher magic stats, so the player, seeing not so good progress with swords and axes, could try to put this hero with other magic heroes to unleash his potential.

What do you think?

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I'm not too keen on the idea of characters classes being a part of the heritable traits.

I'd prefer seeing new heirs with certain talents and flaws and then having the player choice where these kids will learn their profession (or a set of skills really).

Me too. I'd do this:

* Stats/traits/learning potential -> from parents.

* Skills/abilities/professions-> from training/environment/combat

I'd scrap classes, and go with a simpler skill system, with experience going toward individual skills.

Heroes could gain exp in a skill by:

* staying in a keep with other heroes who have that skill

* explicit training in a skill at a keep

* using skills in combat

* seeing skills used in combat

* staying in particular places

* using items/equipment

* by just being exceedingly talented in something

* etc.

Every hero will have a learning potential based on their "genes", which could be a simple list of max level/learning rate for every skill in the game. This list should be hidden from the player, but could be partially revealed as the game progresses in some way.

This will make so that if the heroes family is a warrior's family, he'll (probably) have a bigger potential of learning warriors skills, and if he stays at the family's keep he'll learn this skills faster than mages or archers skills.

But a hero from a warriors family could also sometimes happen to have a higher potential in magic skills and higher magic stats, so the player, seeing not so good progress with swords and axes, could try to put this hero with other magic heroes to unleash his potential.

What do you think?

You're practically repeating most of what I said, so I'm definitely of the agreeing opinion.

Some of what you wrote reminded me of something:

I would actually like a "retired" soldier maybe be brought back to the fray from necessity, but still be able to continue his mentorship while on the road, and to have people be more prone to teaching each other abilities based on affinity.

In light of this, and simply because I like it, I think there should be progress bars for each ability, and depending on how close they are to being filled, there's a JP or XP cost reduction to unlock the rest. This would be a way to further give reason to work on the relationships between characters, though it might be heavy handed... But , honestly, this is so close to what seems to be the core of the game to me, that it's worth having despite not necessarily appealing to everyone.

I start thinking about Dark Souls and how peoples initial reaction when they hear about the game and see it is that it wouldn't be a good experience, and just frustrating, mostly because of the - in my opinion - misplaced emphasis on the difficulty.

The difficulty wasn't actually the core of the experience, but there to serve the core, and quite strongly: The core was the sense of discovery - I would use the word exploration, but people tend to not associate that word with everything it prescribes.

From the get-go you're in a state of constant learning: learning the basics of the mechanics, the nuances that the deceptive simplicity allows, learning how humanity works, souls, not to use a firekeeper soul, but to trade for the upgrade of an estus. If you want to get better at combat, you need to explore the combat, and learn the patterns of the enemy, the difficult is to not allow you to bypass this experience - in otherwords, to reinforce the core.

If you want to get better equipment, you need to explore the world, read the differences in the gaps and walls to see where you can go, and can't as you would likely die otherwise. The level design reinforces the core.

Even the story: if you want to know about the world and what happened, you're not given it: you still have to look for it, explore it. Again, it reinforces the core.

The lack of loading screens, constant vistas, and frequent allowances to look back, makes you feel connected to the world, and know almost exactly where you are to everything else, and it ties you beautifully to the world, and makes you discover how everything stands in relation to everything else, again related to the level design.

Finally, why there IS such an emphasis on the difficulty: all of these things allow you to discover your strengths and weaknesses, and what you're capable of, whether you've made up for your lack of reaction time with planning your build, or patience in the face of a strong enemy, or your adaptability has proven the stronger, or that your eye for detail has granted you those extra souls found in the environment, or seen something else in the environment to use against that enemy.

If you've read this far, thank you for your patience, as I was leading somewhere. Brad, if you're reading this, could you let me know what your core is, so I can give better thoughts and ideas than to give ones that might clash with, or stray from, your core?

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You're practically repeating most of what I said, so I'm definitely of the agreeing opinion.

Some of what you wrote reminded me of something:

I would actually like a "retired" soldier maybe be brought back to the fray from necessity, but still be able to continue his mentorship while on the road, and to have people be more prone to tea ching each other abilities based on affinity.

In light of this, and simply because I like it, I think there should be progress bars for each ability, and depending on how close they are to being filled, there's a JP or XP cost reduction to unlock the rest. This would be a way to further give reason to work on the relationships between characters, though it might be heavy handed... But , honestly, this is so close to what seems to be the core of the game to me, that it's worth having despite not necessarily appealing to everyone.

Yeah the system I have in mind has a progress/xp bar for each skill/ability. When the progress bar is full, the ability goes up a level.

Affinity could work simply by giving a boost to xp gain for skills when learning from a friend/relative, making it relatively easy to add to the game.

And on the topic of retired heroes going back to battle but still mentoring, younger heroes could gain exp for their skills by seeing older heroes use higher level versions of a skill or "related" skills in battle, as briefly mentioned in my previous post (maybe much less exp then when they are being mentored at a keep).

Something I didn't mention in my previous post and tought I might add is that there could still be "skill trees" with this system, by just having prerequisites to unlocking a skill. For example, to gain exp to unlock the first level of "Firestorm", the hero would need "Fireball level 5" (and, let's say, 70 INT) at least.

Oh and stats would work like this:

* From parents/genes -> a minimum and a maximum value for the stats, depending on age (e.g. STR min/max: 5/10 at age 5, 20/25 at age 14, 25/65 at age 25, 25/55 at age 45, etc.)

* A bonus to min value -> from leveling skills related to the stats (fireball could slowly raise INT, cleave STR and Endurance, etc.) up to the max value for the stat

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Yeah the system I have in mind has a progress/xp bar for each skill/ability. When the progress bar is full, the ability goes up a level.

Affinity could work simply by giving a boost to xp gain for skills when learning from a friend/relative, making it relatively easy to add to the game.

And on the topic of retired heroes going back to battle but still mentoring, younger heroes could gain exp for their skills by seeing older heroes use higher level versions of a skill or "related" skills in battle, as briefly mentioned in my previous post (maybe much less exp then when they are being mentored at a keep).

Something I didn't mention in my previous post and tought I might add is that there could still be "skill trees" with this system, by just having prerequisites to unlocking a skill. For example, to gain exp to unlock the first level of "Firestorm", the hero would need "Fireball level 5" (and, let's say, 70 INT) at least.

Oh and stats would work like this:

* From parents/genes -> a minimum and a maximum value for the stats, depending on age (e.g. STR min/max: 5/10 at age 5, 20/25 at age 14, 25/65 at age 25, 25/55 at age 45, etc.)

* A bonus to min value -> from leveling skills related to the stats (fireball could slowly raise INT, cleave STR and Endurance, etc.) up to the max value for the stat

Although genetic limitations are technically there, it's often a sentiment that people don't like. Rarely do children surpass their genetic capabilities, they tend to have similar problems and limitations as their parents, according to most research, it just doesn't happen, unless there are mutations or disorders in play such as autism - but putting a 'hard cap' on it, doesn't seem accurate either. limits for dimishing returns, maybe. I actually prefer the presence of diminishing returns as it tends to allow for hybridization and more interesting builds.

come to think of it, stats might not even be necessary:

if you can level up abilities, you can have those be the single sources of improvement. if necessary, you can separate them into passive and active abilities.

being ABLE to put points into both inteligence and learning fireball, is (often) an illusion of choice:

when the efficacy of the fireballs are relliant on intelligence, you can't hybridize in terms of being able to put points into strength, and still use fireball, because the spell will always be subpar to an actual mage.

if you eliminate the stat, it comes down to which abilities you teach (passives included), and the passives don't have to be the banal equivalent of the aforementioned stats, but something that actually allows for flavour and interesting builds.

This means you can have both cleave and fireball without penalty to each, and the only penalty is that you chose one ability over another, say, a defensive one for warriors, which would make the character generally more efficient at melee, but now the character functions as a glass canon, that burns through his mana with fireballs, and runs into melee to deal more aoe.

People like stats, because they like to see progression, but with enough creativity, the passives and actives can be many enough and frequent enough to make up for the lack of leveling up stats.

if, for some reason, there is fear in regards to balance, and one does not want the player to be able to learn whatever abilities they want at their leisure -(something which I am against doing, as having some abilities simply outclass others are generally bad design, and having some abilities then end up simply never being used because you've learned something else, makes it feel wasteful...) - as i said, if you don't want them to pick and choose whatever ability they want, I would suggest a sphere grid system rather than a skill tree - On the sphere grid the player could still select whichever abilities he'd want to learn, however, abilities close to an already learned node would be cheaper to learn - magnitudes of which would have to be tested. Each ability might have different costs, to them, as well, so that one, though not in every regards better, for example one might cost more mana (in which case, make mana an issue, for gods sake, otherwise it's not even a penalty), they might cost more to learn which would mean being acquired later than a different ability, which could've been spent toward learning a second ability instead of a single strong one... I'm just ranting about basic balancing at this point.

Either way I don't like talent or skill trees that much, as it basically ends up being about pushing through boring/useless ones to reach the actual interesting ones. The abilities and skills should be balanced to be equally useful to begin with, which would then eliminate the point of the trees.

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Just a simple thought about WARR-arch (Warrior main - Archer secondary), WARR-warr, ARCH-arch, and ARCH-warr:

WARR-arch could be an Axe-Thrower that deals a bunch of damage at close range (axes are hard to throw) and can get into melee when needed without penalty.

ARCH-warr can be a Knife-Tosser that has a good range and possibly more attacks per turn (knives are easier to throw) but does less damage in close quarter combat (but more than a pure archer).

WARR-warr Warrior (has no range, but is the bomb in melee)

ARCH-arch Archer (has best range and added bonuses like more attacks, but can't keep his pants dry when attacked face-to-face)

This is all just a thought on how to classify these guys (as in RPG "class"). This way you don't have to just have a set four buckets of abilities, but get access to different buckets or more abilities that are only open to certain combinations. (Surely a WIKI will be up in no time after the game is released to give those who want to know everything about the possible combos in the game what they need to know, but a nice feeling of surprise, for those who don't want to comb the wikis, when they discover a new spell tree that only rogue-wizards might have.)

Some more examples (just throwing some thoughts out there):

WARR-mage - Paladin/Cleric (auras, heals, buffs)

WARR-rogu - Special-Ops (better evasion (when crouching and such), can sneek behind enemy lines (stealth mode))

ARCH-mage - Arcane-Archer (enchanted arrows (splash damage), seeker missiles (goes around cover), beholder-arrows (reveals place where it lands))

ARCH-rogu - Ranger (poison arrows, huge range of vision (scout), stealth)

ROGU-rogu - Rogue sneak attacks, evasion (stealth mode), traps, and scouting

ROGU-arch - Sniper (ranged sneak attacks)

ROGU-warr - Assassin (dual wielding, more damage)

ROGU-mage - Arcane-Trickster (invisibility! (more move/time on it when at higher levels))

MAGE-mage - Mage (blow stuff up (area damage), and support spells (buffs and heals?))

MAGE-warr - Runic-Knight (enchanted weapons (splash damage), fire shields, auras)

MAGE-arch - Laser-Gun (Ray-Mage?) (longer range mage focused on damage and secondary effects (frost, flame, poison...))

MAGE-rogu - Illusionist (spell traps, illusions)

This could work for opening up skill tree paths for characters, but is also better for a system that does all of this "under-the-hood" and just gives you heros with set classes (if at some point we discover that messing around with individual skill trees is just too much tinkering for the immortal leader of the realm...)

I actually think that not having individual skill trees is the better way (for complexity's sake). But, if you want to make decisions about your forces' abilities, you could influence what all of your Rogues know by having the Rogue-bloodline-family research super-stealth-mode (for example). This also makes research more character driven. Let Warriors research combat maneuvers, and Archers "smith" better bows and arrows. A mage-archer same sex-couple could have the ability to research and smith enchanted arrows. You get the point...

Another random cool thought -

Have genetic traits not only be things like {leader, lone-wolf, sharp-eyed} that feel some-what genetic/parental in the normal sense, but also innate magic - small spells, like DnD cantrips, that all Stormhills could cast from birth. Just another random thought.

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Yeah, I am not intrigued by the side conversation about classless characters one bit. Classless systems are at their best when mechanical identities are flexible, characters have similar baseline capabilities, and players are interested & able to explore the grand space of character customization. Conversely, we're talking about playing as an immortal despot who rules over medieval-fantasy noble houses with strong identities and implied traditions, each of which may supply dozens of units for us to handle over the course of a single play through. That's three strikes in my book.

Getting back to the actual system from the team stream now that I'm caught up on it...

Classes

I do like the combination of a deterministic system (class inheritance) and a probabilistic system (trait inheritance). While the ins and outs of each are likely to change as we go, there's a nice merge of genetics and family culture being represented here. That said, every now and again the football coach is going to have a son that just wants to play chess. It'd be cool to add in a small Black Sheep factor, along the lines of a 5-10% chance that a child gets an unexpected primary class. That class could be totally random or based on his parents' secondaries, but I think it'd be an interesting little wrinkle to add in.

The "bucket splitting" of primary & secondary skills for classes, I'm less keen on. It feels really unintuitive for a Warrior/Archer to not actually have anything in common with an Archer/Warrior. It also seems to go against the earlier decision to say that crossing a Warrior and a Priest will not yield a Paladin, insofar as this model adds a bunch of extra workload for each class we want to design. Is the concern just how to manage melee/ranged class combinations? If that's the case, just allow each character to equip a melee and a ranged weapon setup and let them switch freely on their turn, similar to XCOM's deal with pistols. (Or any FPS in what-feels-like-forever.)

A minor aside on characters earning class talents. To what extent is it even important that a player have a choice in picking them? Would it be the end of the world if the game handled that (semi-)randomly? I'm not advocating that an ideal way forward, but I figure it's a possibility, especially if things just start looking too complicated for the player to actually have fun with at any point.

House Focus

Easy stuff first. A concern that the team mentioned was making the smithing/research options more complicated than "Mages research, Warriors smith." To use XCOM-speak, consider treating these as Research Credits rather than Scientists. Warriors are better than your average bear at cranking out armor, but Mages help with accessories and Rogues with making their trusty knives, and so on and so forth. Also has the interesting trade off that focusing on Warrior gear means your Warrior families aren't raising kids at the moment. Stay ahead of the game!

And now a handful of points on child rearing. First off, what does "raising" the child entail in terms of player prompts? Do we need to lock the kid into a Keep as soon as he's born/turns 5/etc.? That could be a lot of interruptions if we have 5+ Keeps churning out babies, and also leaves you sort of in a odd place if something happens to the Keep or host family. The alternative, just checking the child's location the instant he turns 15, is counter-intuitive from a real-world perspective but avoids corner cases while letting players periodically pause the timeline to handle child care en masse.

Next up, it's conceptually really weird to say that only our retired heroes can have and raise children. I mean, prime battle-fighting age and prime baby-making age sort of overlap in the real world. Can we make these concurrent activities? Just let the Keep Lords/Keep Ladies enter combat with the rest of our forces if we choose. If they die, we get a prompt at the end to immediately select an heir or vacate the Keep. Having leaders like that in battle also seems like it'd tie in well to any morale system that makes it into the game, since they explicitly outrank any other members of their house.

Finally, eviction. If there's never an upside to just kick a family out of a Keep because they're dumb and lame and need to make way for the sickhouse up-and-coming families, same-sex couples come out looking kind of bad. You end up at sort of the same position in either case -- an empty Keep, and no new-and-improved kids to take the place of the last guys. I do think that same-sex couples almost need to end up slightly worse off in the context of the game -- in that they're exactly like heterosexual ones except for yielding children. But we're all going to end up uncomfortable if the final product says, mechanically, "You can have gay people, but it's a surefire way for your nation to be overrun by demons."

It ends up a little same-y, but you could treat gay couples as adoption agencies and have them periodically acquire children with random primaries & traits from the general populace. This would be a good source for genetic variation as generations go on, too. It's still weird if House Mercury cycles through primary classes with each heir because each one happens to be gay (not required, but possible and maybe even likely if a player decides he always wants a wild-card Keep), but it feels like the least-bad option to me.

Population Explosion

I've said before that I'd like the strategy layer to be a little more proactive on the player's side than FFT or XCOM, in that I'd like to have more to do than just set up my units for the next battle. In the event that that doesn't make the cut, however, I have an alternate proposal that addresses the overpopulation concern to boot. Sacrifice your extra units into the chalice to keep the leader immortal and/or power up the chalice as time goes on. Grind their bones to make your bread!

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Although genetic limitations are technically there, it's often a sentiment that people don't like. Rarely do children surpass their genetic capabilities, they tend to have similar problems and limitations as their parents, according to most research, it just doesn't happen, unless there are mutations or disorders in play such as autism - but putting a 'hard cap' on it, doesn't seem accurate either. limits for dimishing returns, maybe. I actually prefer the presence of diminishing returns as it tends to allow for hybridization and more interesting builds.

come to think of it, stats might not even be necessary:

if you can level up abilities, you can have those be the single sources of improvement. if necessary, you can separate them into passive and active abilities.

being ABLE to put points into both inteligence and learning fireball, is (often) an illusion of choice:

when the efficacy of the fireballs are relliant on intelligence, you can't hybridize in terms of being able to put points into strength, and still use fireball, because the spell will always be subpar to an actual mage.

if you eliminate the stat, it comes down to which abilities you teach (passives included), and the passives don't have to be the banal equivalent of the aforementioned stats, but something that actually allows for flavour and interesting builds.

This means you can have both cleave and fireball without penalty to each, and the only penalty is that you chose one ability over another, say, a defensive one for warriors, which would make the character generally more efficient at melee, but now the character functions as a glass canon, that burns through his mana with fireballs, and runs into melee to deal more aoe.

People like stats, because they like to see progression, but with enough creativity, the passives and actives can be many enough and frequent enough to make up for the lack of leveling up stats.

if, for some reason, there is fear in regards to balance, and one does not want the player to be able to learn whatever abilities they want at their leisure -(something which I am against doing, as having some abilities simply outclass others are generally bad design, and having some abilities then end up simply never being used because you've learned something else, makes it feel wasteful...) - as i said, if you don't want them to pick and choose whatever ability they want, I would suggest a sphere grid system rather than a skill tree - On the sphere grid the player could still select whichever abilities he'd want to learn, however, abilities close to an already learned node would be cheaper to learn - magnitudes of which would have to be tested. Each ability might have different costs, to them, as well, so that one, though not in every regards better, for example one might cost more mana (in which case, make mana an issue, for gods sake, otherwise it's not even a penalty), they might cost more to learn which would mean being acquired later than a different ability, which could've been spent toward learning a second ability instead of a single strong one... I'm just ranting about basic balancing at this point.

Either way I don't like talent or skill trees that much, as it basically ends up being about pushing through boring/useless ones to reach the actual interesting ones. The abilities and skills should be balanced to be equally useful to begin with, which would then eliminate the point of the trees.

Great post nazareadain.

Agreed, skill trees are actually not that good in most situations. Massive Chalice, with it's aging mechanics, is a very different game from what we are used to, so some experimenting will likely help them get the best system in place during the iteration phase (and your sphere grid system sounds interesting), after the core mechanics are fixed.

Regarding stats, I think they have their value anyway, but you raise totally valid points. I'm for streamlining as much as possible, and the best way to go is probably starting with the basics and building on that. Skills/actions are the core of a strategy/tactical combat system, and stats like strenght, intelligence, dexterity, etc. could be added if (and only if) needed.

In response to Selke, I totally agree with your concerns on the classes system mentioned in the teamstream, that's why I proposed a solution without classes. I'm not against classes per se, as long as they find a solution to these problems. Classes have the advantage of giving predefined roles, which could make army assembly easier, but have that "bucket splitting" problem you mention, which I personally don't like in this context. Since this looks like it's going to be a (mostly) single player game with a lot of randomness (and heroes ageing!), we might as well let the player (or the game) pick skills/abilities of any type. If a totally OP combination comes up, we know that the hero will eventually die, it's children probably won't have the same luck, and the player get's to have great fun in the process.

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Great teamstream Brad and Team! I hope you can keep them all as entertaining and thought provoking as development continues.

I really liked the google doc you shared, it really shows the high level elements of a system while letting your team's (and the community's) imagination run wild with all sorts of different avenues to be explored for the final game design. Some of the suggests from the previous replies have been really good, but also pretty intense. Us community members need to remember that you will be having a lot of children and having to micromanage each one with skills and stats could really bog down the fun of realm management and tactical battling. Though I'm a big fan of managing stats, selecting skills and really crafting my soldiers for battle I do feel that Brad and John have the right idea with a fixed primary class, a random(ish) secondary class and set skills that maybe come every few levels. Though it would be nice to have a little bit of choice in a new soldier's focus (maybe just a one time multiple choice option for focus), just in case my forces are low on tanks and I need my new Mage/Warrior to be a little more Warriorly until I can raise a proper tank.

The removal of some choice is good, it'll help reduce management and force players to try out new combinations of heroes. Otherwise most players (including me) will always plan to have a main tank, a healer, and the rest filled with ranged and melee classes focused on damage. One of the possible down falls of the system Brad described comes from when players feel that some combinations are just flat out better than other combinations. That means every class combination has to be AWESOME or in games terms overpowered. I don't mean game breakingly overpowered, just overpowered in one area. No player wants to be disappointed in a class combination that they received if they really felt like they needed the other (e.g. getting a Warrior/Rogue when you really needed a Warrior/Mage). And just giving Warr/Rog the same abilities as the Warr/Mage (just with different names) isn't the solution because then class combinations don't feel distinctly different. For this Warr/Rogue vs. Warr/Mage example the player shouldn't be disappointed but instead be thinking ("Awesome, this Warr/Rogue will take like no damage from physical attacks because he has that skill that increases his physical dodge by soooo much!") or if the player received the opposite roll ("Awesome, this Warr/Mage ain't gonna get exploded by no magic demons because her skills will put that (expletive) on lock down"). Also gives players strategic options for group composition if the player knows the types of enemies they will be facing in the next battle.

My two cents, keep up the great work Team Brad :D!

Hero classes ideas

Below I've listed some ideas (some wacky) for other classes (some new classes, some results of combinations) to throw into the dialogue for when we get to that part.

The Stewart - average or below average melee hero with a knack finding more resources after battles or making a keep run more efficiently (more of a support/utility kind of hero)

The Entertainer (working title) - a hero for boosting stats and production, also allows for the classes of Warrior Poet (Ente/Warr), Bard (Ente/Arch), Sword Ballerina (Ente/Rog), Fire Dancer (Ente/Mage), etc.

The Inventor - Kind of a Leonardo Di Vinci inspired hero, with oddities for distracting enemies, shooting fireworks, placing portable defenses, things like that.

The Seer - Hero who can possible see into the future, but not always accurately. Maybe guesses where the enemy is on the tactical map (through the fog of war) and where they are going (has a chance of being wrong based on level). Maybe can guess where the demons might strike next on the world map, giving you a few years to prepare (unless they were wrong).

The Shapeshifter - Self explanatory, hero that can shift into different animals for scouting, attacking, defending proposes. Not sure it if fits into the lore of the game, but lets just say its a type of magic.

The Gardener - Hero type that plants plants (then grows them with magic) on the battlefield to entangle enemies, maybe can also create hedge barriers or spitting plants. Increases happiness in the realm if at a keep (from the flowers of course!) Hero gardeners! Think about it!

The Brew Master - Inspired from Gragas (Legend of Leagues), maybe the combo of Entertainer/Inventor. Use your imagination for abilities.

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Hey guys! I'm back and ready to talk more about this chart!

One thing that wasn't clear to me was how all the baby making happens in the game. Does it only happen when you plug your heroes into a keep? Now make babies! ...or will the leftover "un-housed" heroes still get it on too? Hmm... and how does that work? O_o

Only housed heroes make hero babies in this setup, the other ones, well fictionally they may make babies but they're not heroes! This should help prevent a population explosion and require decision-making throughout the game since the amount of houses you have will be relatively limited.

And... Where do all the other heroes live while your sets of Hero A + Hero B live it up all cushy in their pimpin' new keeps?

They live in your castle, ready to be flung into a mission (or keep) at your beck and call! It's part and parcel of being a Hero pledged to the immortal king/queen/puppetmaster ;)

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I'm not too keen on the idea of characters classes being a part of the heritable traits.

I'd prefer seeing new heirs with certain talents and flaws and then having the player choice where these kids will learn their profession (or a set of skills really).

Me too. I'd do this:

* Stats/traits/learning potential -> from parents.

* Skills/abilities/professions-> from training/environment/combat

I'd scrap classes, and go with a simpler skill system, with experience going toward individual skills.

Heroes could gain exp in a skill by:

* staying in a keep with other heroes who have that skill

* explicit training in a skill at a keep

* using skills in combat

* seeing skills used in combat

* staying in particular places

* using items/equipment

* by just being exceedingly talented in something

* etc.

Every hero will have a learning potential based on their "genes", which could be a simple list of max level/learning rate for every skill in the game. This list should be hidden from the player, but could be partially revealed as the game progresses in some way.

This will make so that if the heroes family is a warrior's family, he'll (probably) have a bigger potential of learning warriors skills, and if he stays at the family's keep he'll learn this skills faster than mages or archers skills.

But a hero from a warriors family could also sometimes happen to have a higher potential in magic skills and higher magic stats, so the player, seeing not so good progress with swords and axes, could try to put this hero with other magic heroes to unleash his potential.

What do you think?

You're practically repeating most of what I said, so I'm definitely of the agreeing opinion.

Some of what you wrote reminded me of something:

I would actually like a "retired" soldier maybe be brought back to the fray from necessity, but still be able to continue his mentorship while on the road, and to have people be more prone to teaching each other abilities based on affinity.

In light of this, and simply because I like it, I think there should be progress bars for each ability, and depending on how close they are to being filled, there's a JP or XP cost reduction to unlock the rest. This would be a way to further give reason to work on the relationships between characters, though it might be heavy handed... But , honestly, this is so close to what seems to be the core of the game to me, that it's worth having despite not necessarily appealing to everyone.

I start thinking about Dark Souls and how peoples initial reaction when they hear about the game and see it is that it wouldn't be a good experience, and just frustrating, mostly because of the - in my opinion - misplaced emphasis on the difficulty.

The difficulty wasn't actually the core of the experience, but there to serve the core, and quite strongly: The core was the sense of discovery - I would use the word exploration, but people tend to not associate that word with everything it prescribes.

From the get-go you're in a state of constant learning: learning the basics of the mechanics, the nuances that the deceptive simplicity allows, learning how humanity works, souls, not to use a firekeeper soul, but to trade for the upgrade of an estus. If you want to get better at combat, you need to explore the combat, and learn the patterns of the enemy, the difficult is to not allow you to bypass this experience - in otherwords, to reinforce the core.

If you want to get better equipment, you need to explore the world, read the differences in the gaps and walls to see where you can go, and can't as you would likely die otherwise. The level design reinforces the core.

Even the story: if you want to know about the world and what happened, you're not given it: you still have to look for it, explore it. Again, it reinforces the core.

The lack of loading screens, constant vistas, and frequent allowances to look back, makes you feel connected to the world, and know almost exactly where you are to everything else, and it ties you beautifully to the world, and makes you discover how everything stands in relation to everything else, again related to the level design.

Finally, why there IS such an emphasis on the difficulty: all of these things allow you to discover your strengths and weaknesses, and what you're capable of, whether you've made up for your lack of reaction time with planning your build, or patience in the face of a strong enemy, or your adaptability has proven the stronger, or that your eye for detail has granted you those extra souls found in the environment, or seen something else in the environment to use against that enemy.

If you've read this far, thank you for your patience, as I was leading somewhere. Brad, if you're reading this, could you let me know what your core is, so I can give better thoughts and ideas than to give ones that might clash with, or stray from, your core?

Oh man I love Dark Souls! And I agree with your assessment. I do think that the game would still be great with a bit more tutorialization or explanation of the core mechanics. I honestly think the density of the game requires a bit more explanation... you either have to read a FAQ or waste a TON of time experimenting with that game.

So to answer your question - I think the core of MASSIVE CHALICE is all about difficult, meaningful choices. I love the agonizing choices that you're faced with in XCOM. For example when you get your monthly funding and you can afford 2 items and you feel like you *really* need 5! The fact that this feeling persisted through most of my first playthrough was incredible. You also experience these choices occasionally on the tactical layer and they're just as meaningful. I had to choose between letting one of my favorite soldiers die to capture an Outsider (that you need to progress the story bits) or killing the Outsider so that my soldier could live. Super powerful! :D

You're not really given these kinds of difficult choices in something like FFT. I always felt like I could grind my way out of any situation in that game, and that was kind of a bummer! I'm definitely not fond of trading my own time for greasing the wheels of the game. That game is fantastic and I love it, but I feel like it removes some of thrill of victory if you put in 10 hours of random battles improving your party.

I hope that answers your question! :D!

Brad!

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Hey guys! I'm back and ready to talk more about this chart!
One thing that wasn't clear to me was how all the baby making happens in the game. Does it only happen when you plug your heroes into a keep? Now make babies! ...or will the leftover "un-housed" heroes still get it on too? Hmm... and how does that work? O_o

Only housed heroes make hero babies in this setup, the other ones, well fictionally they may make babies but they're not heroes! This should help prevent a population explosion and require decision-making throughout the game since the amount of houses you have will be relatively limited.

And... Where do all the other heroes live while your sets of Hero A + Hero B live it up all cushy in their pimpin' new keeps?

They live in your castle, ready to be flung into a mission (or keep) at your beck and call! It's part and parcel of being a Hero pledged to the immortal king/queen/puppetmaster ;)

Sweet! Welcome back, John! For some reason I envisioned you riding horseback (Uncharted 3 style) back to Double Fine, hoping off your stead onto your desk chair at work, crackling your knuckles and immediately writing this comment.

... I think I need to go to bed.

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Oh man I love Dark Souls! And I agree with your assessment. I do think that the game would still be great with a bit more tutorialization or explanation of the core mechanics. I honestly think the density of the game requires a bit more explanation... you either have to read a FAQ or waste a TON of time experimenting with that game.

So to answer your question - I think the core of MASSIVE CHALICE is all about difficult, meaningful choices. I love the agonizing choices that you're faced with in XCOM. For example when you get your monthly funding and you can afford 2 items and you feel like you *really* need 5! The fact that this feeling persisted through most of my first playthrough was incredible. You also experience these choices occasionally on the tactical layer and they're just as meaningful. I had to choose between letting one of my favorite soldiers die to capture an Outsider (that you need to progress the story bits) or killing the Outsider so that my soldier could live. Super powerful! :D

You're not really given these kinds of difficult choices in something like FFT. I always felt like I could grind my way out of any situation in that game, and that was kind of a bummer! I'm definitely not fond of trading my own time for greasing the wheels of the game. That game is fantastic and I love it, but I feel like it removes some of thrill of victory if you put in 10 hours of random battles improving your party.

I hope that answers your question! :D!

Brad!

Yup I was referring to figuring out how weight works from a practical standpoint, and whether you preferspeed or steadfastness and such through the experimentation, but they should've explained some things like the fire keeper soul as that has long term repercussions (which is difficult to come to terms with 20 hours in).

I see why you aim for that experience you mentioned, but there seems to be other elements you've discussed that, of course this is my opinion, have more potential as they've gone less explored though they don't relate directly to what you've mentioned as the core. Then, again, I suppose it depends more on what you consider meaningful choices. Yet, because we both know how good dark souls ended up being, I think you understand why it's so important for me that you know whether or not this is the core, or just an element that serves the core (like the difficulty).

What I'm referring to in regards to elements you've talked about is the potential for emergent stories, but you mentioned that you're hesitant to introduce higher levels of autonomy.

I think not giving autonomy is a lost opportunity. I know you don't want to have that, so that the player can feel a level of control, but with the sort of game your making even without this element, the player knows that he's always operating in the realm of probability, not certainty: chance of traits, chance to hit, chance of bad enemy composition. Randomness is unavoidable as far as I've understood, but you seem to embrace that so far, and I think you should keep going.

Autonomy, in this case, however, serves an important purpose in the realm of emergent stories, which will be sort of hard explain without hard facts here, but please give me the benefit of the doubt:

When it comes to building characters, actions aren't nearly as important as intentions. Usually, though, actions are the best way to express them, however, when you give the player complete control over the characters, the actions and intentions become the player's, not the character's. It seems like you want the player to care about the character's they end up with, and I think they should, and you've already got the important element of the player having to invest time and effort into them, making them attached on that level.

Bringing this back around to the potential core, decisions become more difficult because of deeper attachment to characters. When you're about to sacrifice a character, not only might you think, "he was a good soldier, but we need the rest of the group to survive this." You could think "he was about to propose." I apologize for the cheesiness of that, but it serves as an example.

Then there's also that you talked about having a hero jump in front of the strike of a demon to save their offspring. Giving the player a prompt as to whether or not they want that to happen completely disregards that sentiment.

Returning to the topic of allowing the player to retain control, I was making a design document on a game similar to this (part of why I kickstarted this was because I wanted to see how some of the mechanics would work by themselves and together), and it was going to focus more on the simulation part and work as a story engine. The player would play as fate, and to make sure he felt in control while still feeling like he was always working in the realm of probability, and character's that make their own decisions, he had a resource referred as "twists of fate", which basically allowed the player to tweak numbers to directly affect the outcome.

This was (at least intended to be) a universal resource, where the player had to decide when the most appropriate time to use them would be. Now or later. Whether to influence the opinion of a king from another kingdom to give him more soldiers to work with, affect the outcome of a vote, make a hero agree to take on a mission, or simply make sure that a hit would be guaranteed on the tactical layer. I was also playing around with the idea that the last boss would eventually become impossible to hit, and have the player pour every point of fate into a single strike and have the player revel in seeing the chance to hit slowly rise from zero to a hundred and land the final blow. The player made the impossible happen.

There were going to be diminishing returns, to promote the player to try affecting different decisions. There would also be different repercussions in meddling with the lives of individuals. They would eventually sense your involvement if you kept going against their beliefs and potentially break their oath to you and leave your retinue. This doesn't mean that you wouldn't see them again, however. For example you could force a hero to kill someone they love because the person had become corrupted and it was a necessity, however, incapable of dealing with that, and sensing your involvement, they might actually turn against you, assassinate your other heroes, or convince them to leave as they couldn't hurt you directly.

Playing as fate seems similar to playing as the immortal king, and fate and destiny isn't that distant from time which you've made a prominent element, expressed through the gameplay, and personified through the demons.

I'm worried to come across as an ass here since I know this is your game, but I was wondering if this element of emergent stories (or should I say, meaningful stories, since stories technically are just a sequence of events) isn't as important to you, and if so if you could go more in depth as to why choices are more important. (Or maybe you're confident it'll be fine without the autonomy..?)

Thanks in advance!(you get half now and half later)

Boldness to compensate for bad readability

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All that crazy awesome stuff you said.

Thanks in advance!(you get half now and half later)

Great post Nazareadian, your game about fate sounded pretty cool. That could have been a very fun and unique experience, no game that I can think of has the player being more of a guiding presence throughout the game with only influences on the probabilities of various events.

You really went into some great details about how your design document and Massive Chalice could mesh well together, but I did get a little lost near the end of your post on whether you were talking about your design document or suggesting ideas for Massive Chalice (somewhere around the "characters sensing your involvement" paragraph). Still great ideas about how some autonomy in the game could drive the stories of the individual heroes, which got me thinking about how fun (or frustrating for some players) it could be to be prompted about reading quick story elements for each hero as time passes.

That lead to me an even bigger question, on how many troops will we be handling at a given time?

Because if it's on the order of XCOM (around 5-8 depending on injuries) then it would be kinda fun to hear a little about their individual stories as the demon war rages.

This also ties in well with: How much customization of gear and abilities will the player have?

I know you've talked about it before, I remember bits and pieces about both Brad and John talking about the different heirlooms in a family and then I assumed that heroes would have some armor/weapon/accessory slots, but exactly how many equipment slot is a good number? Early game I would think it necessary to really be looking at your 5-8 heroes and making sure they are equipt with the best stuff to make sure I doesn't screw up early battles. But what about late game when players have lots of Keeps (think Brad mentioned about 8 Keeps or so), then I've probably got lots of heroes and taking the time to check each one before battle could really slow the pacing down (pretty much like every Civ, Total War, Crusader King's 2 in the late game stages). Which leads into another great point/question, once my kingdom is big (lots of Keeps under my control) will I really have time (or care) to get to know my heroes when I have so many to out and fighting?

How do I stay close knit with my heroes when I have so many?

Last question, do you think you will be putting in an auto battle option for times when I know my group of heroes will decimate the enemy without me needing to dictate their every move?

Kind of jumped around everywhere, but I'm still just excited about this game and throwing out my ideas in hopes that Brad and John will see them is really fun to me.

Thanks,

R. King

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Last question, do you think you will be putting in an auto battle option for times when I know my group of heroes will decimate the enemy without me needing to dictate their every move?

Wouldn't that be the perfect opportunity to let your newbies gain some valuable xp?

Considering the life cycle of, you know, people, the average power level of your squads will bounce up as lords gain strength, then shoot down when they retire and are replaced by a gangly teenager. Over the long term, the average strength increases, but a 45 year old veteran is going to have far better stats (I hope) than a green stripling.

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All that crazy awesome stuff you said.

Thanks in advance!(you get half now and half later)

Great post Nazareadian, your game about fate sounded pretty cool. That could have been a very fun and unique experience, no game that I can think of has the player being more of a guiding presence throughout the game with only influences on the probabilities of various events.

You really went into some great details about how your design document and Massive Chalice could mesh well together, but I did get a little lost near the end of your post on whether you were talking about your design document or suggesting ideas for Massive Chalice (somewhere around the "characters sensing your involvement" paragraph). Still great ideas about how some autonomy in the game could drive the stories of the individual heroes, which got me thinking about how fun (or frustrating for some players) it could be to be prompted about reading quick story elements for each hero as time passes.

I had literally 5 characters left by the end, I decided to attempt being terse rather than double post. You should keep in mind, that my game wouldn't be an exact replica of what you might envision MC to be (It seems like your well aware, I would just ask that you expand that sentiment a bit further). What I meant by that section basically comes down to that players wouldn't be able to continuously disregard the opinions and (potential) decissions of the different characters. At the same time, they player shouldn't be inable to do so, but the repercussions would be severe, to the point where they will leave your army, and some even gaining a vendetta against you. It could be quite simply expressed through a 'suspicion meter', as hamfisted as that may seem, the game would already be rife with UI and feedback elements, and the layer of abstraction is so high that it wouldn't interefere with the "realism" as the heroes would basically be personalities more than bodies for warfare.

A different resulting vendetta could be that they rig votes to bring someone else into power and use them as a puppet to disregard you while pursuing their own agendas, if not rise to power, themselves.

That lead to me an even bigger question, on how many troops will we be handling at a given time?

Because if it's on the order of XCOM (around 5-8 depending on injuries) then it would be kinda fun to hear a little about their individual stories as the demon war rages.

This also ties in well with: How much customization of gear and abilities will the player have?

I know you've talked about it before, I remember bits and pieces about both Brad and John talking about the different heirlooms in a family and then I assumed that heroes would have some armor/weapon/accessory slots, but exactly how many equipment slot is a good number? Early game I would think it necessary to really be looking at your 5-8 heroes and making sure they are equipt with the best stuff to make sure I doesn't screw up early battles. But what about late game when players have lots of Keeps (think Brad mentioned about 8 Keeps or so), then I've probably got lots of heroes and taking the time to check each one before battle could really slow the pacing down (pretty much like every Civ, Total War, Crusader King's 2 in the late game stages). Which leads into another great point/question, once my kingdom is big (lots of Keeps under my control) will I really have time (or care) to get to know my heroes when I have so many to out and fighting?

How do I stay close knit with my heroes when I have so many?

Last question, do you think you will be putting in an auto battle option for times when I know my group of heroes will decimate the enemy without me needing to dictate their every move?

Kind of jumped around everywhere, but I'm still just excited about this game and throwing out my ideas in hopes that Brad and John will see them is really fun to me.

Thanks,

R. King

This whole topic of population explosion is something I've been trying to break down in my (so far ignored) mindmap in another post.

Pacing_zpsd7bde44a.png~original

it is, however, something I'd like to understand more about as pacing is one of the most important, and fickle things for a game. Technically is ultimately the only thing that's important, and everything is to serve that, but that's because it's as banal as "how good is this over time?" with the goal having a pattern of tense and release that becomes fractal... still, I digress, and I'm hungry, so I'd rather not spout more nonsense untill my blood sugar as increased and levelled.

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